Playing without Cole Anthony and Leaky Black on Sunday, North Carolina’s offense sputtered; as a result, the Tar Heels lost to Wofford, 68-64. That performance marked the third straight game (all defeats) that UNC failed to scored over one point per possession and post an effective shooting rate of 42 percent. These are two fairly low bars to clear; however, the offense in Chapel Hill is a real obstacle, at the moment.
On the heels of that loss, North Carolina — now 50th in adjusted offensive efficiency, per KenPom — dropped to 6-4 (1-1 ACC) on the season. When the AP Top 25 poll dropped on Monday, UNC landed outside of it — for the first time in over five years.
New AP Top 25: Kansas reaches No. 1, first time with five different No. 1 teams before New Year's Day. Gonzaga, Louisville, Duke & Ohio St round out top 5. Penn St (23) in for first time since March 1996. UNC unranked for first time since Feb 2014. https://t.co/BoVMDN7HHL
— Aaron Beard (@aaronbeardap) December 16, 2019
Through the first 10 games of the season, UNC has just two individual games with an effective shooting rate above 50 first: Notre Dame and Gardner Webb, both wins. However, North Carolina has yet to put a game together with an effective shooting clip of at least 50 percent and a turnover rate under 20 percent.
As of right now, North Carolina ranks outside the top 300 nationally in effective shooting (44.1 eFG%), 3-point percentage (28.7 3P%, down from 36.2 3P% a season ago) and free throw percentage (63.2 FG%). The perimeter shooting of Coby White and Cameron Johnson — the best movement shooter in college hoops last season — is deeply missed.
UNC is also playing at a slightly slower pace, overall (16.1 seconds per offensive possession), and assisting on fewer of its made field goals: 54.3 percent. Finding some sort of scoring production on the offensive glass (37.5 percent rebound rate) is absolutely imperative at the moment, too.
Without Anthony (32.2 percent usage rate) and Black — the team’s top two playmakers — UNC must find ways to scrounge up offense. That will likely require playing through the post — Armando Bacot and Garrison Brooks — and range shooting from Brandon Robinson.
First-year G Cole Anthony (right knee) and sophomore G Leaky Black (sprained right foot) are out today against Wofford, UNC announces in a statement.
Anthony is out indefinitely, & Black is game-to-game.
Additionally, F Sterling Manley is out for the season, per UNC.
— DTH Sports (@DTHSports) December 15, 2019
Bacot struggled against Wofford, in an outlier of a game: 2-of-13 shooting around the basket and eight points. He did have eight offensive rebounds, though.